Bae Suzy and Lee Seung-gi‘s Vagabond is off to a good start when it premiered Friday night and drew up to 1.78 million viewers nationwide based on viewership data released by Nielsen Korea. This number narrowly beat the estimated 1.73 million who tuned in to watch the return of Song Joong-ki’s Arthdal Chronicles on September 7.
In terms of nationwide TV ratings, the Netflix original series recorded 6.3, 8.0, and 10.4 percent for its first episodes. In particular, the rating of the scene where Lee Seung-gi’s character is fighting with a terrorist in Morocco soared to a peak of 13.9 percent, making Vagabond the most-watched TV program between 10 and 11 pm in both terrestrial and cable platforms. Its 10.4 percent rating also beat the 10.2 percent recorded by the final episode of Doctor John, the Ji Sung led medical drama which previously occupied the said time slot.
Vagabond, one of the 11 new Korean dramas in September, is a spy action melodrama that centers on Cha Dal-gun (Lee Seung-gi), an experienced stuntman who sets out to investigate a tangled web of corruption following a plane crash that has killed his nephew. As he uncovers the truth, his life gets intertwined with that of Go Hae-ri (Suzy), a covert operative for the National Intelligence Service who ends up helping him.
The premiere of the US$22 million drama, which comes from the director of Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim and the writers of Empress Ki, is packed with detailed cinematic action scenes and impressive visual effects. Many viewers had anticipated the first episode of Vagabond because the project marks the second time Suzy and Lee Seung-gi have teamed up in a drama. The two starred together in the 2013 fantasy historical series Gu Family Book.
Vagabond is the 9th Korean-language TV show to be branded as a Netflix original series so far in 2019, following When The Camellia Blooms, Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung, Chief Of Staff, Arthdal Chronicles, One Spring Night, Abyss, Possessed, and Romance Is A Bonus Book. Two new episodes of the series are released every Friday and Saturday (Korean Standard Time) on the streaming giant beginning September 20 in most APAC and English-speaking countries.
(Spoiler Alert) In the first episode of Vagabond, Cha Dal-gun is introduced as a stuntman living with his nephew who admires his talent and also finds enjoyment in martial art. When Dal-gun quits his job as a stuntman, the kid becomes upset and leaves for Morroco without making up with his uncle. Unfortunately, the plane carrying him has crashed and killed over 200 passengers on board. Devastated by the tragic news, Dal-gun goes to Morocco to attend the mass funeral for the victims. There, he stumbles across a man whom he had seen in a video taken by his nephew inside the plane. Thinking that the man is responsible for the incident since he survived the crash, Dal-gun chases after him. The two get into a fight but the suspect eventually escapes.
Goo Hae-ri, meanwhile, disguises herself as an intern at the South Korean embassy in Morocco as part of her secret mission for the National Intelligence Service. She travels to Portugal and becomes involved with the murder of a civilian who has tried to report to authorities the impending attack against the plane, making her somewhat connected to the deadly incident. Upon her return to Morroco, she welcomes the families of the plane crash victims and meets Dal-gun for the first time.
Pegasus Market also aired its first episode on Friday night and obtained a nationwide TV rating of 3.2 percent. Based on the popular webtoon Cheap Cheonlima Mart, the new tvN drama tells the story of the employees of a mart that is struggling to make a profit due to lack of customers. It is headlined by Lee Dong-hwi and Kim Byung-chul.
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